March 17, 2016

Human Organ Transplant Centre (HOTC) kicked off celebration of World Kidney Day and passing of the newly amended legislation on March 9th with an event at Radisson Hotel. The event was attended by Ms. Ranju Jha (MP and Chairperson, Parliamentary Committee of Women, Children and Social Welfare), Ms. Ani Choying Dolma (President, Aarogya Foundation), Mr. Shanta Bahadur Shrestha (Chairman for the program and Secretary of Ministry of Health), Dr. Ganesh Gurung (Chairman, Organ Transplant co-ordination committee and VC of NAMS), Dr. Upendra Devkota (Senior Neurosurgeon), Mr. Haribansha Acharya, Mr. Madan Krishna Shrestha and our Executive Director, Dr. Pukar Chandra Shrestha. The event was also attended by various other MPs, top medical experts and journalists.

The guests celebrated and extolled HOTC's and Aarogya Foundation's team, mainly Dr. Pukar C. Shrestha for their commendable and relentless effort in ameliorating the existing legislation on organ donation, which if properly implemented, will make the donation process tremendously easier.

The following day on World Kidney Day, March 10th, Honourable Prime Minister, KP Sharma Oli inaugurated a modern gastroenterology, intensive care unit and pathology at HOTC and took part in an interaction program on New Transplant Act.

Nepal is marking World Kidney Day with new hope and new amended legislation this year. The day is marked every year on the second Thursday of March to educate people about kidney-related diseases, their treatments as well as preventative measures that can be taken to reduce the chances of contracting those diseases. One out of every ten people is likely to suffer from kidney diseases and it's a steadily growing problem worldwide. Every year 3000 Nepalese people suffer from kidney failure and unfortunately, 90% of them die within the following few months.

Recently, organ donation and transplantation legislation of 1998 was amended by the parliament of 2016, which makes this year's celebration even more important. Human organ transplantation (regulation and prohibition) law of 1998 had limited the people that could donate their organ by a relative to the immediate family members and cousins (excluding aunts) only. But the newly amended legislation of 2016 has vastly broadened the possibility of donating organs by distant relatives. The new list includes husband, wife, son, daughter, adopted children, mother, father, step father, step mother, grandfathers, grandmothers, grandsons, granddaughters, brothers, sisters, first and second cousins, spouse's siblings, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law and daughter-in-law.

The new law also paves way for paired exchange provisions between two or more families. If someone in a family experiences an organ failure and has a willing donor but is unable to receive due to incompatible cross-match, the person can receive the organ from another family who is undergoing similar problems and the donor in their family is a match. Thus, the donors could 'exchange' organs and donate to recipients in the other family.

One of the most important aspects of the new law is the procurement of viable organs from a brain dead person. At least eight different organs can be harvested from one brain dead person such as, two kidneys, two lungs, one heart, one liver, one pancreas, one small intestine as well as two corneas and skin.

At present, HOTC in Bhaktapur is the designated unit for those duties. HOTC was highly influential in advocating changes in the legislation of 1998. HOTC also performs one hundred transplants per year.

The day was also marked with free kidney check up camp and organ donation camp where about a hundred people had come for their health check up.